Mumbai-based architect Aum Gohil wins Asia Young Designer Award in Malaysia
Aum’s project revolved around the idea of using malls for purposes beyond mere consumption by building recycling and upcycling facilities within these premises
Aum Gohil, a 24-year-old architect from Mumbai, was in preliminary school when he first realised his call for design. From winning drawing competitions in school to some national drawing competitions and recently winning the Best Sustainable Design Award at Asia Young Designer Award in Penang, Malaysia, Aum has come a long way. An alumna of the Academy of Architecture, Mumbai, Aum won the competition for his project Apparatus of Amusement beating 32 applicants from 16 Asian countries. “I always knew that I want to be an architect and when I visited JJ School of Art in ninth grade with my mother to see the studio environment, it strengthened my dream. It was a proud moment to represent India in another country and then win this award among 16 other candidates from many countries,” says Aum, who spoke to us about the project that won him the award, his current assignments and future plans.
Organised by Nippon Paint, The theme for the competition was Amplifying empathy through design and Aum’s project revolved around purposeful designs that meet the demands of both communities and the environment. Fresh out of the win, Aum tells us that he conceived the project during his college days. “It was my thesis project that I developed in my final year. I had heard about this competition from many of my seniors so I also applied,” he says and adds that he first had to win the national round to be eligible to compete with international participants. “I stood first in India among 12 other participants and then I had to represent India at Asia level.”
Through the project Apparatus of Amusement, Aum tried to navigate a way through which malls can be used for repurposes than only for consumption. His idea of a mall is more circular than a straight line where recycling and upcycling can be a part of the same premises. Interestingly, the entire project was based in a defunct mall in Vile Parle, Mumbai which is located near a happening street buzzing with college students. “My idea was how could I use these defunct spaces and make them more circular. There were three categories — plastic, smartphones, and garments. I connected with people who do recycling and upcycling on regular basis and designed how they can be connected to a mall. That this I displayed through my design,” explains the Borivali resident, who worked on this project for about eight months.
Fusing sustainable ideas and luxury in every project, Aum is currently working as an architect on an artist’s residency to make it a cultural centre. When asked about his philosophy of design, Aum shares that he wants to contribute and explore designs. “For me, the exploratory part is important. Every project is important and it shouldn’t be classified as luxury. The amount of effort that goes into a luxury office should be the same effort for a low-cost budget space. For me, the important thing is how I make something more people-friendly and accessible. I want to revolve my philosophy around these aspects of innovation,” says the young architect in conclusion.